Teaching a Growth Mindset through Children’s Literature

As a member of the International Literacy Association, I receive the magazine Literacy Today. In this last issue of Literacy Today, I read a wonderful article about the Growth Mindset and Children’s Literature. What is the growth mindset? According to the authors in the article, this is the “belief that one’s intelligence and skills can always evolve and develop.” If you haven’t read the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, this should be your next book to read! To learn more about the growth mindset, click here.

I loved this article in Literacy Today titled Inspiring Agency, Teaching a growth mindset through children’s literature by Summer R. Clark, Grace Enriquez and Jessica Della Calce. In this article, the authors discussed various ways to use the growth mindset when reading aloud with your child. Within the article are specific recommendations of books that help reinforce these concepts. Here some books that I have reviewed that help promote this growth mindset:

IshThe DotWhat Do you Do With a Chance?My Second Year of Kindergarten,  The Collections of Joey CornellA Chip off the Old Block, This is Not the Abby Show , Just Under the Clouds, The Invisible Boy, So B. It , The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

This list is just a start! Check out my website for more books that promote this mindset. How do we use this idea of growth mindset when reading with our children? Clark, Enrique and Calce (2018) recommend the following ways to facilitate this concept:

 During discussion, the authors gave these examples of questions to lead discussion with your children.

“What strategy did ______use to achieve success?

“Think about a time you faced a challenge like ______. What strategy did you use to help yourself?”

As you are reading the book aloud, use the think aloud approach. For example, when I am reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds, I can comment “I think that the character is working hard at creating various forms of art. Now that he is confident, he feels excited to create new paintings.

“How did ______grow and change?

As you reading, My Second Year of Kindergarten discuss the changes that Peter goes through from his first year of Kindergarten to his second year of

“If you were ___, what would you try?”

In the book, A Chip Off the Old Block, you can ask your child, If you were Rocky, what would you do? How do you think he felt when he didn’t belong? How did he feel when he left home?

Within this article is more information and questions for discussion. To learn more about Literacy Today and access this article, click here.


Clark, Summer R, et al. “Inspiring Agency Teaching a Growth Mindset through Children’s Literature.” Literacy Today, 2018, pp. 28–29.

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